A very welcome break

I have just finished work for the week, my very last bit of Saturday teaching, being involved in an online open day. From here on (hopefully) my weekends are free to do what I want, starting with this weekend where I must get some serious knitting done.

I also have next week off. I know that term only started four weeks ago but there have been very many long days and I am really looking forward to not having to be on the computer so much. I am having some problems with my eyes, and have new glasses to pick up in while, so it will be lovely to do other things that will give my eyes a bit of a rest.

I have been doing puzzles in the evenings again, rather than anything else, as I have not wanted to strain my eyes further and have just completed this gorgeous one.

I would love to just climb into the picture and be there now. Jackie (my sister) and I would love to go away in her camper van as soon as we can. Meanwhile I am keeping myself amused watching travel vlogs filmed pre-pandemic. I have found a new favourite You Tube channel, Flora and the Novice Explorers.

Not only have they had some fabulous trips through Europe they also have a very useful website with lots of good info and recipes. I first came across them as they were driving down the coast near where my house in Spain is. Just look at the view here, this is one of their wild camping spots just up the coast from me, how beautiful is this! Picture from their blog.

I have just started this one of a quilt shop. I plan to make lots of full-size quilts after retirement and love all the colourful ones in this picture. Again I would just love to climb in and be in that shop, maybe taking a class. If we are allowed I will try and attend some over the summer, the quilt shop Sharon and I visited in September often holds them so that would be a nice birthday treat.

Meanwhile there are some more quilt alongs happening. I did one at the start of the first lockdown and made lots of lovely Liberty blocks. That was from Riley Blake and they have a new one happening now. You can find the schedule here and all of the patterns on the Riley Blake website here. I won’t have time to start the blocks now, they look a little more complex than the ones I did last year, but am saving them all for future use. Photo of instructions from link above.

The first one is the Pinwheel Star Block, made by Jedi Craft Girl. I have used her pouch tutorials in the past. Picture from her website. This one doesn’t look too difficult, although with my inaccurate piecing I doubt the corner squares would be as neat!

The second is the Shining Star Block, from Bev at Flamingo Toes. Again I have used her tutorials for the lovely camper van embroidery hangings I have done. I love the outline stitching around the centre star here. Picture from her website and photo of instructions from Riley Blake site as before.

The rest of this weekend’s task is to try and finish the removable trainers for some knitted animals, I am nearly finished with the second one, after having to undo a lot of knitting. They look so cute when finished though, so hopefully mine will look as good. Picture is from the pattern, my first pair are in turquoise shades.

These are from the amazingly talented Julie from Little Cotton Rabbits, who keeps coming up with ever more gorgeous things for us to knit. I can’t wait to have a go at the little shoes with eyelets as well. I have been inspired once again by the people on the Little Cotton Rabbits Facebook group who are all far more productive than I am at the moment!

The sun is shining today, so hopefully it will melt the snow and ice, I did venture out on Wednesday for a walk but had a bad fall on the ice so am a bit bruised. I am therefore not risking it again until all the paths are clear. I was rescued by a very lovely older gentleman who was concerned that I might have broken my hip and came out in his crampons to get me! I do live in a very lovely place.

Take care, have a nice week ahead, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The kindness of strangers

It never ceases to amaze me how kind bloggers are in giving away free patterns for things. I know sometimes that is to promote things like a new fabric line, but you don’t have to buy anything to be able to take advantage of their generosity and I love collecting ideas. They will all be for future makes as I have enough to keep me going in live projects until about September.

I say strangers but I do think of these people as friends, well imaginary friends though the wonderful Jenny of Elefantz and I have corresponded by e-mail. She is always giving away beautiful designs and this year she has two things for everyone.

The first is her Posies Block of the Month Quilt. These are gorgeous little stitcheries that would make great gifts appliques onto a bag or lavender sachet if you didn’t want to make them into a quilt.

Each one is very quick to do and I love the combinations of colours that she has chosen. All pictures are from her website.

She is also producing a magazine this year, The Homemakers Heart, and the first edition is full of lovely things. I knew I would love it as soon as I saw the cover, this looks so much like my craft room stash (picture from Jenny’s website).

This month’s edition has the first of a days of the week stitchery set, a quilt block and a journal cover as well as recipes and other delights. It really is gorgeous and is totally free! Thank you so much Jenny πŸ™‚

Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet also has a new quilt design out called Flea Market Flowers. I love Lori’s designs and this one really appeals to me because of the Dresdens it uses.

I had a flurry of Dresden making a few years ago when I got a ruler free with a quilt magazine and made lots of pouches with them on. I loved combining them with vintage crochet.

Not only do you get the free quilt pattern and a step by step weekly tutorial with such lovely pictures but there is also a download for the quilt info pack which includes this notepaper and clip art set. You can download them from the links on this page here.

We are so lucky to have the internet for all these lovely things and such wonderful people sharing their talent through it. It all makes me very happy.

It is another very busy week here, with more snow. We have had so much more this year, I think it is Nature’s way of giving the children a break from all the online home schooling they are having to do during lockdown and there were lots of them enjoying it today.

I managed a long frosty walk up on the hills yesterday lunchtime which was lovely. I am trying to get as much exercise as I can do and it was sunny and gorgeous, a real promise of Spring.

I hope that you are having a good week, I shall be back at the weekend hopefully to share some more loveliness with you. Meanwhile have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A wintery walk and the makings of a new hat!

Last Sunday I went to the reservoirs, inspired by the snow on the hills. I had a lovely icy walk, lots of beautiful scenery as always, but also some amazing ice formations that had formed, some from the drips on the cliffs and others around the grasses and brambles.

I amused myself taking some arty shots of the frost on the moss and the reflections in the water. It was so lovely and strange to think that in a few shorts weeks we will be back to having lambs on the hills and then all of the rhododendrons in bloom. It doesn’t seem that long since all the walks last year and here we are at the end of January.

In some ways it has been a long year but in others it seems to have flown by. As of tomorrow I only have 150 days left at work. I bought myself some little countdown chalkboards at the start of term last year. In August the first day was with 305 to go, and I am now over half way through! Exciting times indeed. Now I just have to sell the house, pack everything up, learn to drive and try and leave the country, negotiating Brexit on the way πŸ™‚

Ellen came up again this weekend and did the first fitting on the jacket, it is not too bad size wise so the next task is tacking it up fully and another fitting in a few weeks. I am so glad she is able to help with this. Having the mannequin is great but she is not the same shape as me and does not move, so is not good for proper fittings.

We also made a start on the hat to go with the outfit. I have been trawling Pinterest again and had added these two lovely examples to my Steampunk board.

I wanted to make a miniature version and after many trials decided on a 4″ high with a 4″ diameter hat that will be attached to a headband. We made a little mock-up with cardboard and making tape.

I had ordered some embellishments for the hat this week, I was so pleased with the cameo, which I found on Ebay. It goes brilliantly with the blue material.

The gold lace was from my stash, no idea where that came from but may have been a present from Mum from Spain.

The ostrich feathers are so soft and fluffy and look brilliant. I do need to source some more trim for the top and brim edges of the hat. The real thing will be buckram covered in felt. The trim will be useful to hide the joins as buckram can be quite difficult to sew with. I found this very useful tutorial so am using that as a guide to making the top hat, but am just intending to do a flat brim.

I have just found a perfect pair of shoes as well, second hand, which just need a bit of lace adding to them as well. I will also make a handbag, possibly with a clasp and chain but we will see how that goes!

I hope that you have all had a good week and are doing something nice this weekend. Next week I have what will hopefully be my last Saturday teaching session ever so will be very excited to have all my weekends free from then on.

Take care, stay safe, and thanks for visiting.

A very productive week!

I have had not only a very accomplished week work wise, getting through a huge pile of marking and admin and the start of a new term, with a brand new masters module to teach, but also a very productive week with other things.

Ellen came up this week, she took me shopping, which was very useful as I am now stocked up with toiletries and things for about the next four months so will not have to go to town for a long time. I found that during the first lockdown last year it was sometimes difficult, or more expensive, to source specific things that I needed so at least I am prepared for the long haul now as I doubt I will be going into work before Easter.

Then we had a lovely day yesterday of baking, and cooking and cutting out the new Steampunk dress, aided by lots of tea of course!

Thank you very much to Leigh, who commented on my last post telling me that the dress is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was able to find the details of it here. It was made in 1885 by an American company and is an evening dress. That quite surprised me as I thought it looked more like a winter walking ensemble with the jacket bodice and the fur.

The fabric is a delight to work with, very easy to cut and doesn’t slip about or fray. I think I am really going to enjoy making this outfit, unlike others where I have been wrestling with slippery satin or velvet that sheds everywhere 😦 It did take a while to do the pattern matching though, it is big repeat and it is not an exact repeat all over the cream fabric. I have not yet manged to cut the sides of the jacket or the skirt as it took a while to get the other pieces accurate.

I did not have as much of the blue so I am going with a blue front panel and collar, cuffs, apron and possibly the bow. I am modifying the pattern to use a more pointed back to the jacket, as in the original, and a smaller bow than in the pattern. I am also hoping to use some of my vintage lace collection to embellish the sleeves and bow. I really love the motif on the fabric, it has that gorgeous mix of Victorian and Indian influences.

It was slightly easier to use the pattern as I have already made it once, with modifications. It is listed as ‘plus difficile’ but since the last time I used it was to make the tablecloth jacket, which involved pattern placement on three different embroidered tablecloths looking for the right combination of motifs, it felt a lot easier this time. The last one turned out very well and is still one of my favourite makes.

This version will have a different front as well, it is a faux button front with a placket behind it with hooks and eyes so that will save me actually having to make buttonholes, some of my least favourite things!

Hopefully I will finish the cutting out this week and then tack it together for a first fitting next week. Ellen is coming up again for a bit (hurrah for support bubbles) so hopefully I will be able to start putting it together after that.

I was looking though previous posts about the pattern and I had found this gorgeous image where someone had used the pattern to produce this stunning outfit.

I did a search to see if anyone else had used it but apart from two of my pictures didn’t find anything else yet but will keep looking on pattern review sites as I love getting new ideas. I did find this beautiful original dress, which is very similar. No idea where from again but love these colours.

I am so pleased that I have got another project underway, I love the creativity of putting together not just the outfit, but the hat and all the embellishments, lots of lovely research to be done over the next few months. I am currently looking for shoes, gloves and a parasol to go with it.

I hope that you are all having a lovely weekend, and are tucked up safe and warm if you are in the UK. It has been quite a week, weather wise, with dreadful floods and snow and sleet. Thankfully it is only the roads here that were flooded but there have been some really bad ones elsewhere.

Have fun, take care and stay safe. Thanks, as always for visiting and commenting and I will see you all again soon.

Steampunk for the 2021 season

Almost a year age, on Jan 18th, in a land before Covid, when we could roam freely and do non-essential shopping πŸ™‚ I wrote about our trip to Bombay Stores in Bradford, and the wonderful fabric we bought on that trip. I was able to make the peacock inspired outfit for the picnic in August, but as there were no other events did not do anything with the beautiful gold fabric.

This was to have been a coat made from the lovely Simplicity pattern below but a little lack of motivation, and overwhelmingly busy time over the summer getting to grips with online learning, meant that it has been left on the ‘someday’ pile in the craft room since then.

However, I am determined to make some new outfits this year. We may not have any events, though I am very hopeful for Whitby and Lincoln. They are in late July and late August, and are outdoors, so we may be lucky enough to be able to go to those. The success of the picnic at Kelham Hall hopefully means that something can happen later this year, even if it is a much smaller scale event. If not I will be very well set up for 2022!

I was thinking about a Russian empress theme for the gold fabric and yesterday this wonderful set of pictures popped up on my Facebook feed. I am sure sometimes the internet is reading my mind. These are from the Romanovs’ last ball in 1903 and there are the most wonderful array of over the top costumes. The photos have been colourised from the original black and white and the costumes are just amazing.

I am particularly attracted to this head dress, there is no name on the photograph so I don’t know who she was but I really love this.

I was thinking maybe that I could make a version from some of my vintage crochet, using the Powertex stiffener that I used for the crochet base to the tea party hat. That I painted silver over the dark brown of the Powertex colour, but as it comes in yellow, white and transparent and can be easily painted I think it might work well.

The other alternative would be a tiara. I love tiaras, as well as flower headbands, and wish my life had far more opportunities for wearing them. When I retire maybe I will wear them far more out and about, befitting my new Bohemian lifestyle πŸ™‚ I had already found a number of beautiful ones on Ebay so may buy one of those as well.

Another outfit I am going to be working on, starting next week when Ellen comes up for a sewing weekend, is inspired by a photo shared in a costume group on Facebook. I have no idea where this piece is but it is clearly in a museum from the way the photo is shot.

I have had some beautiful lightweight patterned fabric in pale blue and cream my stash for about 14 years now, bought as a bargain bundle for possible medieval costume but never used, so this would be just perfect. I am planning to use this pattern, which is the one that I adapted for the tablecloth jacket. I think it is a really good match to the original outfit, as it has a very similar back which I just need to extend for the train.

I will probably make it fitted with buttons, though that is something I usually avoid due to my lack of skill in this area, but I think that it would look better with the front overskirt if it was fitted. For the hat I was thinking of a pale top hat, similar to those below. I do have a wedding hat that a friend gave me that I could cover but think that might be a little too Edwardian in style.

I do need to find a theme for the outfit though, I am thinking maybe just going with flowers and butterflies as so many of the fashion plates from this era feature women in gardens. I will of course need a beautiful lacy parasol to go with my outfit!

I have been working a little bit this weekend, but have most of it to play with fabric so will also be choosing fabric for some more Barbie couture, and making knitted shoes for little animals. All while watching the last few episodes of the amazing Bridgerton. I have been rationing myself as it is so wonderful, I only have 3 episodes left now but then will be doing lots more research on the costumes as I keep seeing things I want to make versions of.

I hope that you are having a good weekend, we had more snow this week, so yesterday Marsden looking gorgeous and sparkly in the sun but we are back to grey skies and rain today, perfect weather for snuggling under a fleece and knitting.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A Christmas Miracle

Well dear reader, you may have realised from the lack of recent posts that I made it to Spain! It was indeed a Christmas miracle as I landed, with my lovely negative test certificate, the day before Spain stopped letting people from the UK in, and came back just before the UK started asking for the same tests on return. Phew! I am now safely ensconced in a snowy Marsden, self-isolating for the next two weeks.

As we are now online only at work and likely to be so for the foreseeable future I may not leave the house again for many months! Although I am determined to try and get out and do some exercise once the weather improves (and the pavements are less slippery) as I have had a very lovely time in Spain walking and even doing some cycling πŸ™‚

I have not used my bike in Spain for about 4 years, since I started having more joint and back problems. My fitness has declined so badly during last year due to lockdown and working from home that I really wanted to do something to try and improve things. I started doing an online fitness programme a few weeks before I left, based on Salsa dancing, and really enjoyed it. So I got Rosie Raleigh out of my Mum’s basement and we had some fun adventures together.

I was determined to do as much walking as I could while I was in Spain as it is one of my favourite things to do. I started off with just an hour an evening to go and watch the amazing sunsets. I was later able to take the bike out a few times, culminating in cycling all the way to the beach, about 6km in total, there and back.

I was so pleased. Not only was it really lovely to be out in the sunshine and have the freedom to roam around some of my favourite cycle paths but it also gives me the independence that I need for when I move there full time. My relatives are very helpful with driving me places but I want to be able to travel myself as well and my plans for passing my driving test have been on hold since May and are no nearer completion.

I had great fun exploring some of the areas of the urbanisation that I have not visited before, including some of the smaller squares of older properties. They have lovely little green areas in the middle with palms and bougainvillea decorating the houses. There are also quite a few more refurbishments, and makeovers of the older properties into the newer white modern style are in evidence all over the area.

On one of my rides I went out towards the mountains. There are a number of paths alongside the irrigation canals that have been designated as cycle paths and the views were beautiful as always, especially with the sun shining through the rushes that grow at the sides of the water.

I also spent a lot of time on my terrace. Mum gave me some more money for plants for Christmas so I redid all the pots which gave me something pretty to look at while I was admiring the blue sky and the lovely sunrises. I also added a couple of beautiful ceramics to the wall. I am looking forward to having more tiling done when I am there full-time as I love Spanish tiles.

I also spent quite a few evenings sitting on the terrace reading as well, wrapped up in a fleecy blanket with all of my candles lit and solar lights. It was so peaceful and relaxing.

My Mum had her little candle tree up with all of the ornaments I have made over the years, all but the green tree at the top and the cross stitch to the left of that are ones that I have made for her. This is also useful for checking what I have already made for her for planning future creations.

The flight back was lovely though I was very sad to be leaving. It was raining when we left Spain but we flew over the Pyrenees in sunshine so I was able to get some shots of the mountains in the snow, I do love mountains!

So it is back to life in lockdown for the next few weeks, however I have plenty to keep me occupied. I am not working many weekends this term (hurrah) so am planning some more Barbie couture as my younger relatives loved their Christmas gifts and still have bunny knitting to finish. I have also been watching the wonderful Bridgerton and am taking inspiration from the amazing costumes there for more Steampunk plans for the future.

I hope that life is ok for you all at the moment, it does seem like a long time until brighter days, as it often does in January, but hopefully things will get better very soon and we can have some return to that wonderful weather we had last Spring. I have been so lucky to be able to enjoy the sun in Spain and will stay warm and await it’s return here. At least Marsden looks very pretty in the snow.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Frosty, Freezy and the B Crew

When my friend Kerry came over during the summer she commented on the fact that I had all of the Barbie dolls that I had been making clothes for lined up on the coffee table in front of me. She said it looked like I was using them as an audience and I told her that was my B Crew and yes I did occasionally talk to them πŸ™‚ Well when you live on your own you have to be creative sometimes for company.

The B Crew have been disbanded now as they are mostly off to new homes. I spent many happy hours during the first few weeks of the restrictions in April making clothes for them all, (I ended up with 10 dolls at one point with those I bought for work purposes and the ones I found on Ebay).

Once I have finished with the animals that I am making as gifts for friend’s grandchildren, I will probably get back to making gowns for them as the recent declutter led to me finding a whole new stash of beautiful fabric that I can use. I bought some wonderful vintage patterns in PDF from Gail’s Vintage Doll e-Patterns on Etsy and have so many other ones to try. I love these very sixties ones.

For these dresses I made four versions of the dress on the top left of the pattern, View 5. For the white and green dress I adapted the skirt to be flared. The other print dresses were made from two rectangles with the skirt part gathered.

These three dolls are going to the cousins for Christmas and three of the diversity ones have gone to my friend at work. She is using Barbies in awareness raising about diversity in art galleries, so they will join her Art Activist Barbie team. I love what Sarah has been doing with her work, if you are interested here is her Twitter page.

I have kept four of them as models, and this is one of my favourite as I love her hair. I must make her some fab new clothes for next season as the poor thing only has one dress at the moment.

I have also finished my two snowmen, here are Frosty and Freezy. The last photos show them filled with chocolate and ready to go off to my nieces for Christmas. I think they turned out really well and I very much enjoyed knitting them. Details of the pattern is in this post here.

I actually had the whole of this weekend off (eek) as all of my teaching on Saturdays for this term has finished. It was so lovely to have two whole days off, so exciting! I managed to get a lot done, sorting out some more of the things in the craft room and made up this pouch for Ellen’s friend. I have had the applique done for a long time but it was on my pile of things to make up (which includes a large pile of stitcheries that I must get around to doing something with!).

I love the Liberty fabric I used for the bottom of the bag, it is one of my favourite designs and I wish I had more of it but think it looks cute as just the base. There is a good tutorial for this and other types of lace zipper pouch here at Plush Addict. The lace zippers come from Buddly Crafts and come in all sorts of gorgeous colours.

I am not expecting to get too much else done this week as I have a lot of wrapping and general Christmas prep to do and may (only may) be leaving the country on Saturday. All manner of miracles have to happen to make that work so we shall see. If I am blogging again next week it will not have happened but fingers crossed!

Whatever happens I will be happily knitting something somewhere and celebrating getting to the end of a very tough year, both personally and professionally, as it has for many people. Whatever happens next year at least this one will be over, in some cases the worst has already happened and we have survived that. We can only hope that things get easier for us all in 2021.

If I don’t see you again until Jan, hope you have a good a festive season as you can, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A whole lot of sorting going on

Well I have had a very busy few weeks, very little crafting but a huge amount of sorting and decluttering. It is less than 3 months until I put the house on the market (eeek!) so there has been a lot to do as I wanted to make the best use of what time I had before Christmas. Starting in January I will be finishing the re-painting, doing the final declutter and then calling the estate agents!

I have been helped by a new Facebook page in our lovely village for people to gift and request items that they need, set up just as the newest restrictions started as all of the charity shops were closed, and some smaller items have gone to new homes. It is such a lovely idea and people have been very generous, there have been some really nice children’s toys and all sorts of things that people have donated to others.

My wonderful Ellen came up last weekend and we did an enormous amount, not that much is visible as it was all things in cupboards, and under beds and in long forgotten boxes and drawers. Some of it went to the local tip, some saleable items on Ebay, but I know it is all gone, and there will be much less to get rid of after the house is sold.

I have even decluttered the craft room, I still have to find homes for some of it as there is a lot of scrap fabric that in previous times would have gone to the local school but they are not accepting anything at the moment. I still do have some time to sort that out though.

It seems weird to be on the final countdown, fingers crossed I only have about 8 months left living here and then it will be a life in Spain, and hopefully on the road for part of the year. I have no idea what will happen, the double whammy of the pandemic and Brexit have meant that planning is not easy but fingers crossed I will get there. I count myself very lucky that I have a house there already and am not trying to do that bit as well.

I have finished a couple of things, I have knitted a basket and some carrots for Ellen and I am doing another set of these for the next bunny as well. I love how the basket has turned out with the basket weave stitch, it was very easy to do and I love it. It is very sturdy and has a lovely i-cord handle. The basket is from Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits and the carrots are a free pattern by Wendy from Flutterby Patch.

Wendy also had some really cute little snowmen that you could use as gifts bags for sweets etc. so I have bought this pattern from her Etsy page and have knitted one already, I have just got to do the face now so I will show you that later. I am going to make two as gifts for my great nieces. These pictures are from her Ravelry page.

I am really tempted to get some of her other patterns as well, I love this group of teddies, and the cute little group of kids.

These dolls are beautiful as well and she has patterns for extra outfits for the larger ones. All pictures are from her Ravelry page.

I shall just spend my retirement knitting endless amounts of little knitted animals and cute dolls πŸ˜‰ I am sure I can find good homes for them to go to. Most of my relatives are getting a little too old now but I am sure I can give them away to others for gifts, or to charity. I did really enjoy making the fabric dolls I made a couple of years ago for my cousins and would like to make some more of those as well. Details of the pattern for these are in this post.

I have finished all on campus teaching now, we have moved everything else online for this term so that hopefully we can all meet up with people safely for Christmas. I am just doing tutorials and marking for the next two weeks so hopefully will have lots of time for other things as I am not leaving the house at all. It seems strange that I will not be going back into work until the middle of January now but I am quite happy here at home. It has been cold and wet out recently so I am happy not to have to stand at cold bus stops!.

A little Christmas tree is up (I have given away the big one and most of my ornaments, even my hand made ones), I have the house full of pretty lights, some new fluffy slipper boots and so I am cosy and warm inside. I am very blessed to have such a safe and comfortable warm home and extremely grateful for this in these difficult times. I am going to light the candles, carry on with some knitting and watch the second series of the lovely Virgen River on Netflix.

I hope that you are all safe and warm as well and have a happy week ahead. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Have yourself a merry knitted Christmas ….

This week has gone so fast! I am not sure if that is a good thing or not. In one respect I can’t wait for all of ‘this’ to be over so the faster time goes the better, and the nearer to retirement I get πŸ™‚ However, I do like to feel that I am making good use of time, but it is just whizzing past me.

This week’s crafting has partly been about preparing a new camper van embroidery and a lovely new applique needlebook for me. More on that in a future post as they are just at the stage of being stuck to the background with no stitching yet.

I have been experimenting with knitted ornaments as I decided that I would like to do knitted ones for this year’s collection for family. I was doing a bit of research and came across some wreaths and thought that I could maybe adapt Julie’s free doughnut pattern so I had a little play.

Knitting it on size 3.75 mm needles made a bigger doughnut but it was not big enough, so I eventually cast on 39 stitches rather than the 26 in the pattern. This is such a fast and easy knit, you do not have to concentrate too hard so it is great for doing while watching tv. I have now made 5 doughnuts in total I am getting quite confident with it.

To decorate I am using up my stash of little charms. I have so many varied ones that I have collected over the years and they look very cute on the wreath.

I only have about half a ball of this lovely variegated yarn left so will use that up for possibly another 4 of these. The good thing is that the charms can be varied as I only have one or two left of most of these now and I am trying to be good and not buy any new stash πŸ™‚

The Little Cotton Rabbits crafting community continue to delight with their Christmas themed knitting. These gorgeous creations have all been posted recently. This reindeer is by Christine Collins and I love the background and the accessories, that gingerbread doll is so cute!

This cute rabbit in a Christmas dress is by Lindsay Munro, I really love all the variations that you can make to the basic dress patterns.

I have knitted the free stocking pattern before but never in miniature like the one from Sarah Bellis below. And the bear has a hat, candy cane and Christmas slippers! I think this might be one of my all time favourite makes.

Although these three come a very close second, this little family by Sharon Pagdin have got the most detailed set of Christmas clothes. I really love the green holly themed textured dress.

I will not get time before Christmas but I think I will have to knit a reindeer over the holidays. I have a little red jumper with a snowflake on that I knitted a long time ago and I think that would look brilliant with some green trousers.

I am going to take three weeks leave at Christmas, my employer has given us extra time off to say thank you for all the extra work we have done this term so I have two weeks from them. I am still hoping that restrictions are lifted so I can visit Mum in Spain but we shall see, it is all very complicated so I probably won’t know until last minute. Either way there will be lots of knitting taking place.

I hope that you have had a good week and things are going ok. Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Reasons to be cheerful, Parts 1,2 and 3

I remember Ian Dury and the Blockheads very well, the song, ‘Reasons to be cheerful part 3’, was one of my favourites as a teenager. Given the recent announcement about further restrictions things are looking a little less than cheerful here in the UK. However I have had a good week teaching both online and on campus. I am nice and cosy staring at the foggy day outside, and there are lots of lovely things to be thankful for.

The first one is that I have just knitted a doughnut! Well I have actually knitted two but this one is the first to be fully finished with all its little beads. This is to go with the little mouse below. These are so quick and easy to make and from a free pattern from Julie’s Ravelry page, which is linked below.

I know I have said this before but I am so happy to be able to create, it soothes me, makes me feel in control when things seem to be going crazy and makes me so happy.

Who could not be happy seeing the completed little mouse here. This is many relaxing hours of work and I love her.

She is going to a friend’s grand daughter so I hope that she will be happy with it too. Her name at the moment is Mia but I am sure that she will get a new name when she arrives in her new home.

The t-shirt dress is a supplement to the top down jumper pattern and this is the second time that I have knitted this top. It is a really easy pattern to follow and makes much neater sleeves so I am now using it as the top of a little animal dress that I am knitting as well.

The rucksack comes from another of Julie’s patterns with lots of bags and I am looking forward to making more of the different versions.

The second reason to be cheerful is community. I am so thankful for all of the different communities that I belong to, both real and virtual. I love being able to stay in contact with people and to be inspired by them and their creations. Every day of the past few months my spirits have been lifted by looking at a blog post, or watching one of my travel vloggers.

One of the communities that I absolutely love, which fills with me with such joy, is the Little Cottons Rabbits one on Facebook. Ironically Julie, the wonderful creator of all the patterns and the group, was one of the very first blogs I ever started reading. She has brought such joy to everyone through her patterns and her new community. There are over 3,000 members now worldwide and it is one of the best bits of my day seeing what others have made.

Julie has recently released a removable shoes pattern and I have bought that and the boy ram this month. Pictures are from Julie’s Ravelry site.

There are some wonderful examples of these shoes on the group and I have been very inspired, especially the little lacy ones. This gorgeous colourway is by Lene Holla, those grey socks are just so cute!

I have also been getting lots of ideas for colour schemes and embellishments. This beautiful elephant with a matching cardi is by Adele Gomes.

I do just happen to have some little roses in my stash as well as some mini bows. I am not sure that I could knit very tiny ones like these on the very beautifully neat creations from Sarah Bellis.

I have also been amazed by the creativity in the community with people adapting the pattern and making the most amazing themed animals. This little cat in traditional costume is by Claudia Sadun. I love the knitted apron with its detailed trellis design.

I have not knitted a deer yet but there are so many beautiful ones being made as Christmas presents and I adore this one, this is by Marie Fowles and she looks so cosy in her fluffy scarf.

The most creative ones I have seen so far are these lovely little mice themed around The Nutcracker. These are from Annette Belway.

The joy that these bring as gifts is fantastic and there are lots of posts about toys going to friends and relatives and the wonderful reactions that they get.

The third reason to be cheerful is hope. At the start of restrictions in March I was concerned about family, when I would see them again, and how they would cope. I have luckily been able to see most of them, and have really appreciated that time. I have especially valued when it has been where we have been able to go away and spend time doing exciting and amazing things.

I have just completed another little camper van embroidery and have another on the go. This is a free pattern from Flamingo Toes and she has lots more hoop art patterns here. Doing these gives me hope that one day they will hang in my little camper van as we go off on our adventures together.

My plans for the rest of today are to do some Christmas ornament making. I have a couple of quieter weeks coming up so want to get most things done by the end of November, rather than in a rush in December as usually happens.

I was able to go and visit my local haberdashers on Wednesday, just before they had to shut again for a while. I needed more wool for the next few projects so while I am still going into work I took advantage of being able to stock up. You never know when plans will have to change these days so a good supply of everything is essential πŸ˜‰

My lovely sister took me to the supermarket on the way back from our recent trip so I have enough lovely food and wine so just need to ensure that the crafting stocks are in top condition as well.

I hope that you are all coping and finding your own reasons to be cheerful, even though things may be a bit gloomy at the moment, as the saying goes, ‘this too shall pass’. Take care, stay safe and thanks to you all for visiting and being part of my community.